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How To Tell If An AirTag Is Tracking You

Last Updated Jul 31, 2022

The Apple AirTag is an ingenious little device about the size of a small campaign button that allows the owner to attach the AirTag to any object and track it using short-range communication whether it belongs to the owner of the AirTag or not. This allows the AirTag to be tracked anywhere worldwide as long as it is near an iOS device.

The downside to this is that people are rarely all good. It is possible to keep track of your gym bag or purse, but it is also possible that someone nefarious could hide one in your gym bag or purse. With it, they can track everywhere you go, even if you don’t have an iPhone. So, how can you tell if an AirTag is tracking you?

How to Tell if An AirTag is Tracking You

The Apple AirTag is part of Apple’s Find My network accessory program. The Find My network allows people to find their lost iPhones, iPads, and AirPods. They send a signal to nearby iPhones if the owner loses them. Leave it to someone to ruin a good thing.

If you have an iPhone and an AirTag you don’t own has been moving with you over time, you will be sent a notification if you have Find My set up properly. If you have an Android phone, you must download the Tracker Detect app from the Google Play store to detect AirTags at Bluetooth range.

It is easier to find if an Apple AirTag is tracking you if you use an iPhone. Since the AirTags use the iPhone as a relay point, the iPhones are always scanning for AirTags. Android phones are not AirTag relays, so you have to open the app and run a scan to search for one. So, you only scan for AirTags when the app is open and running.

How to Tell if an AirTag is Tracking You on iPhone

If you have an iPhone and an AirTag, or even a loose AirPod that has been separated from its owner and seen moving with you over a while, the Find My network will notify you in two ways: 

  1. It will push a notification to your phone if you have the Find My network and location services set up properly 
  2. It will cause the AirTag to make a noise

How to Set Up the Find My Network and Location Service

Much like losing your iPhone or AirPods, you want to ensure you have the Find My settings set up before you need them. They don’t do you much good after the fact. These settings are only available on iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later.

To receive push notifications in the event of AirTag tracking:

First, you’ll have to turn Location Services on. You will have to select the following in this order:

  1. Settings
  2. Privacy
  3. Location Services
  4. Turn on Location Services

Once Location Services are turned on, you’ll then have to turn Find My iPhone and Significant Locations on:

  1. Settings
  2. Privacy
  3. Location Services
  4. System Services
  5. Turn Find My iPhone on and then turn on Significant Locations.

Significant locations will allow the iPhone to send notifications when you arrive at significant locations such as your home or place of work.

Turning on Bluetooth and Tracking Notifications

Once you’ve set up the Find My network, you’ll have to make sure you turn on Bluetooth and Tracking Notifications:

Turn Bluetooth On

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Bluetooth
  3. Turn on Bluetooth

Turn Tracking Notifications On

  1. Open the Find My app
  2. Select the Me tab
  3. Turn Tracking Notifications On

Also, make sure airplane mode is off. If airplane mode is active, you aren’t going to get any push notifications from the Find My app.

How to Tell if an AirTag is Tracking You on Android

When using an Android device, you won’t be able to have push notifications sent to your phone when an AirTag is tracking you because AirTags use iPhones to relay their signal. Because of this, you will need to download an app from the Google Play store called the Tracker Detect app. 

The Tracker Detect app can only scan in Bluetooth range for Apple AirTags that are out of their owner’s possession. You can only scan for AirTags while running the Tracker Detect app. There is no way to have it scan constantly. If the AirTag has been near you for 10 minutes, the app will allow you to make the AirTag play a sound to help find it.

Play a Sound

Another method of finding an AirTag that might be tracking you is if an AirTag is away from its owner for long enough, it will play a sound so that you can find it and possibly return it. 

At the very least, make sure it isn’t tracking you. You can also make any AirTag that was tracking you found in the iPhone Find My app and the Android Tracker Detect app emit a sound.

Beware

There are also dark places on the internet where people can purchase modified Apple AirTags that can make a sound disconnected. So, if you are seeing an AirTag that doesn’t belong to you, stay nearby, but you aren’t hearing it make it sound, but that doesn’t mean you are in the clear. Stay safe.

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